Today Rishi Sunak flatly rejected a warning from Britain’s food czar that bringing cake to work is like smoking with colleagues.
Downing Street has insisted Mr Sunak is committed to ‘personal choice’ – revealing he is personally ‘very biased’ for carrot cake.
Aides underscored the message by bringing cupcakes to reporters during a briefing after the weekly PMQ session.
The bullish stance came after Professor Susan Jebb, chair of the Food Standards Agency, compared cakes in the office to passive smoking.
Professor Jebb, who teaches food and population health at the University of Oxford, said the temperature: ‘If no one brought cakes to the office, I wouldn’t eat cakes during the day – but because people bring cakes, I eat them.
Professor Susan Jebb, chair of the Food Standards Agency, says bringing cake to work is as harmful to colleagues as passive smoking
The teacher said, “If no one brought cakes to the office, I wouldn’t eat cakes during the day”
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET RESULT IN?
Meals should be potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starches, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following foods: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread, and a large baked potato with the skin on.
• Have dairy products or dairy alternatives (like soy beverages) choosing low fat and low sugar options
• Eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should consume less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
“Now, okay, I made a choice, but people were making the choice to go to a smoky pub.”
She added: “With smoking, after a very long time, we have come to a place where we understand that individuals have to put in effort but we can make their efforts more fruitful by having a supportive environment.
“But we still don’t feel that way about food.”
She concluded that passive smoking inflicts harm on others “and the same is true for food.”
Professor Jebb also urged doctors to be more open to approaching patients about their weight and offering help with dieting.
She criticized a lot of people for currently refraining from discussing the topic.
A former government adviser on obesity, Professor Jebb has also slammed the government for delaying a ban on junk food advertising, which she says ‘undermines people’s free will’ to eat vegetables.
“Advertising means the companies with the most money have the biggest influence on people’s behavior,” she said.
‘It is not fair. At the moment we allow advertising for commercial purposes without any health checks and we have ended up with total market failure because what you get from advertising is chocolate not cauliflower.
She also insisted that obesity in the UK could be treated, saying ‘fairly cheap interventions’ such as weight management programs would help.
It comes as Lord Rose of Monewden, chairman of Asda, told the Times Health Commission on Monday that workplaces must do more for employee health.
He asked: ‘Why don’t we push to say that in this process too, as employers, we have a legal obligation to do something for the health of our employees?’
Two-thirds of adults in the UK are currently overweight – a figure that has doubled over the past 30 years.
Treating obesity-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and several cancers, is estimated to cost the NHS £6billion a year
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared war on the size of the country in 2020, abandoning his aversion to nanny-style nutrition policies, after his own weight exacerbated his Covid infection.
But last year the government backtracked on several schemes, delaying a ban on “buy one, get one free” junk food offers and a 9pm turnaround on sugary snacks for at least a month. year to help the poorest families pay their food bills.
And last month, Health Secretary Steve Barclay delayed an advertising ban until 2025.
He resists the bans and instead wants “more positive ways to promote healthy living.”
Meanwhile, Professor Jebb wants to introduce low-cost interventions that ‘bring huge benefits’, including NHS weight management programmes.
Professor Jebb also criticized the government for delaying a ban on junk food advertising amid rising obesity in the UK.
Speaking today, Prof Jebb added: ‘I want to make it very clear that the views expressed in the Times article are not those of the FSA Board and in no way reflect policy current or planned FSA.
“I agreed to join the Health Commission in my role as an academic and the comments were made in conversation with The Times and in discussions with other members of the Health Commission panel.
“As the Times article points out, I made these comments in my personal capacity and any depiction of them as the FSA’s current position or policy is misleading and inaccurate.”